A CHRISTIAN CRITIQUE OF OBJECTIVISM
The year 2007 is the 50th year since the first publication of the novel, ATLAS SHRUGGED, by the Russian-American author, Ayn Rand, born 1905 Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg, capital of the Russian Empire, of non-practicing Jewish parents. Her upbringing and early education were not untypical of the Russian bourgeoisie at the time. Her family survived the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and in spite of her origins she was admitted to study at the University of St. Petersburg, graduating in 1924. 
In 1925 Alisa Rosenbaum was able to leave the Soviet Union with an exit visa to visit the United States. Some time after her arrival in New York she cast aside the Ashkenaz-Jewish family name of her father and assumed the bland brand of Ayn Rand, thus complimenting her already professed atheism and completing her divorce from all that she had inherited from her Jewish ancestors. While in New York she defected. Moving on to Hollywood, Rand took on various jobs as a writer and a movie extra. Eventually she returned to New York where she worked as a playwright and author, publishing her first novel, THE FOUNTAIN- HEAD in 1943 and in 1957 her opus magnus, ATLAS SHRUGGED, wherein she set out the precepts of her evolving philosophy or Weltanschauung of atheistic materialism, later called “OBJECTIVISM”. While she shared her basic principles of atheistic materialism with Karl Marx, the two, both “renegade Jews” who rejected their people, had little else in common. While Marxism was an all-inclusive ideology of the struggle of the exploited toiling masses of workers and peasants oppressed by the bourgeoisie, which led to their revolt and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the creation of a new egalitarian, collectivist social order under the vanguard of the Communist Party, wherein the state owned all property and means of production, Rand headed in a different direction.
As an atheistic materialist Rand acknowledged only the existence of that which could be seen, measured, weighed, and determined physically, i. e. objectively, hence the name, Objectivism, for her ideology. Perceiving only the concrete, she denied the abstract or subjective, including religion and all other modes of thinking, virtues or concerns which could not be objectively fixed.  Unlike Marx, Rand elevated laissez-faire capitalism  as the only system which unleashed man’s creative capacities, wherein individual viz. property rights were exalted as ends in themselves rather than as means to an end. She acknowledged no abstract concepts such as “community”, “society”, “social justice”, “public welfare”, “charity”, “public interest” etc which would obligate one person to any others.  Humanity consisted only of individuals, not of any social combinations thereof. For Rand , the state existed only minimally as a police function to protect the movers, i. e. property owners, capitalists, industrialists, and moguls of great wealth against the claims of the looters i. e. the rabble and other collectivists who would regulate the economy and re-distribute the wealth for the general welfare of society. Thus plutocracy, not democracy, was the natural order of her universe. Unrestrained individualism, greed, selfishness, unfettered aggrandizement of wealth and power were Rand ’s highest ideals and her heroes were those who pursued those objectives most vigorously. Her villains were the collectivists, the slackers, the exploiters and all others who sought to constrain the movers for abstract reasons of social justice and public welfare. Most contemptible were, of course, the Christians and their constant whining about love for one’s fellow man and pleading for the poor and the vulnerable. Stated otherwise, Christianity and Objectivism were at opposite ends of the galaxy. 
In Rand ’s novel, ATLAS SHRUGGED, Atlas, ancient Greek mythological figure representing capitalism (the movers) supporting the world (the looters) shrugged i.e. refused to do so any longer. With this theme the author sets forth the fundamentals of Objectivism. The dramatis personae is “us” versus “them”, the movers versus the looters. The book was written in the traditional Russian format – long (over 1000 pages), prolix and tedious, didactic, and Romantic in the 19 th century German understanding of the term. According to the novel, America was evolving into a collectivist world in which her heroes, the movers, were being suppressed by her villains, the looters. The heroes withdrew from participation in protest leaving the villains to fend for themselves while the desolation of collectivism gained ascendancy in the land. The movers declared their undying affection for the aggrandizement of wealth and few words from the book set out this thesis better that the ones below:
In the final sentence of the novel, Rand, through her hero, John Galt, mocks the Christian sign of the cross by appropriating its symbolism in the following words:
In the decade of the 1980ies when motivational speakers like junk bond kings, Ivan Bosky and Michael Milken, appeared before cheering crowds of MBA’s to preach the Rand anti-gospel of “greed is good”, ATLAS SHRUGGED moved into the must-read list of motivational books for the young and impressionable business graduate students and for the reactionary American plutocracy. 
Some indication of the popularity of the book for that class in indicated by the names of some of Rand’s ardent fans known to our readers today, such as former Federal Reserve Board chairman and Wall Street promoter, Alan Greenspan, an early fan of Rand, pornographer Hugh Hefner, right-wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, libertarian and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, former president Ronald Reagan, former Prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, et al.
Finally, we display below for our readers two icons relevant to this page. First, the sign of the dollar normally used as a symbol of the US currency, but converted by Rand into an image of all we reject, and the second, the sign of the cross, which represents for us the Atonement and the Resurrection and the hope of mankind. [7a & b]
1) It is indeed strange that the bourgeois, Alisa Rosenbaum, daughter of a Russian businessman, whose property was confiscated by the new regime, slipped undetected past the ever vigilant Soviet state security & intelligence services to enter and study at the University of St. Petersburg at a time when the Soviet regime sought diligently to unmask and to eradicate the vestiges of the tsarist regime, and for three years avoided detection by the state’s informers among the faculty and student body, graduating in 1924, following which she was granted a Soviet passport and exit visa in 1925 to come to the US ostensibly to visit relatives. We find this incredible and doubt that the Rosenbaum/Rand account is the whole story. Was Rosenbaum during her Soviet years beholden in some manner to the new Soviet order? Was she a Communist? Did she undertake to spy for the Soviet Union during her visit in the US ? Rosenbaum’s Soviet years warrant further study.
2) Such as compassion, mercy and humility, to name a few.
3) Also called anarcho-capitalism, asocial capitalism and buccaneer capitalism!
4) Socially useful and progressive welfare entitlements such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, veterans’ benefits etc are anathema in Rand’s frame of reference.
5) Was Rand a libertarian? She denied it, but we think that she was – an anarchist in Gucci loafers.
6) Not all of the wealthy and powerful are found in the ranks of America’s right-wing plutocracy. Many, including some of those in the entertainment industry and in Hollywood, are leftists.
7) a. Following the Decade of Greed viz 1980ies, the American plutocracy realized that ascension to political power would require far more than reliance on the anti-gospel of Ayn Rand. Slowly and curiously the plutocracy cast about and found new allies in the so-called religious right comprised largely of Evangelical Protestants and their conservative Roman Catholic fellow travelers. This new alliance of contradiction brought together the rich and the powerful who championed tax cuts for the rich, the unregulated rule of free markets, free trade, fiscal irresponsibility, deregulation, privatization of communitarian assets, a bellicose foreign policy, etc with the social agenda of the religious right which called for the exclusion of evolution and the inclusion of prayer in the public classrooms, forbidding abortion, embryonic stem cell research, “gay marriage” and the gay/lesbian agenda, flag burning, and euthanasia – either through legislation or constitutional amendment. This alliance of expediency has governed public policy for much of this decade. The self-delusion and cognitive dissonance of the religious right has demonstrated its inability to perceive that it was being snookered by the plutocracy. This may now be changing as the religious right is slowly discovering that the plutocracy is the major beneficiary of the alliance whereas the religious right is left with unfulfilled promises.
b. Some readers may object to the inclusion of political commentary in what is primarily a religious page. We respect their opinions, but we shall persist. While we do not put our trust in princes, certainly not in the present one, we do prefer to set our candle on the mountain rather than under a bushel. We hold that religion is more than a private matter; its application to the body politic can have profound consequences for change. Thus, in our view, Christianity belongs in public places; our faith is more than pious contemplation in monastic seclusion.